Crusaders dominate in season opener against St. Thomas

Colton Dempsey ’20

The Crusaders faced off against the Eagles of St. Thomas High School in their annual rivalry game at NRG Stadium to kick off the 2018 season. This was their first meeting since the 2016 season because their game last year was cancelled due to Hurricane Harvey. The crowd was electric as the game was underway.

The Eagles launched an early field goal on the first drive and had the initial lead at 3-0. That would be the only time St. Thomas would have the lead as the Crusader offense began firing on all cylinders. The phenomenal senior running back Michael Wiley responded quickly with a powerful run to put Strake back on top.

On the very next possession for Jesuit, quarterback Michael Hansen fired a deep ball to Caleb Crawford for a 51-yard touchdown. The Crusaders held the lead at 14-3 going into the second quarter.

The Eagles were forced to punt the ball away for the third consecutive drive and the Crusaders made the most of it. As soon as the next play started, Wiley was off the the races once more with an insane 96 yard carry for a touchdown.

The Eagles began to claw their way back into the game after Peyton Matocha threw a quick slant for a 9-yard touchdown.

Once Jesuit got the ball back, they capitalized on the opportunity. The Crusader’s junior running back, Dylan Campbell, took off for a 45-yard rush, immediately followed by a full backdive by fellow junior running back William Dickason for a two yard touchdown. The Crusaders held a strong three possession lead 28-10 at the half.

After a devastating fumble to start the second half, St. Thomas was looking to turn the tide in this one sided affair. The Jesuit defense swarmed all over their quarterback, forcing him to leave the pocket multiple times. This pressure led the Eagles’ quarterback to rifle a bullet into the hands of Jesuit defender Jack Pittenger. This crucial interception almost seemed to put the game on ice as the Eagle offense could not find but a few opportunities for the rest of the game.

By the concluding whistle of the game, The Strake Jesuit Crusaders proved concluded this season kick off with almost 700 yards total. Michael Wiley carried the ball for 16 times for  205 yards and two touchdowns, while his fellow Crusader running back, Dylan Campbell, finished with 137 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile Michael Hansen threw 14 completions for 268 yards to his excellent receiving core: Nathaniel Beal, Caleb Crawford, and All-American tight end Thomas Gordon.

This Crusader victory asserts the power of Jesuit football at the start of the new season.